Contact Information:

Bari Goldman
RELEASE DATE: 03/10/17

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Two restaurants in Champaign-Urbana will receive Kosher certification from the St. Louis Vaad this spring and summer thanks to a kashering initiative led by Illini Hillel and the Orthodox Union Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus.

On the current list of restaurants in negotiation are Cold Stone Creamery in Champaign and the Dancing Dog in Urbana, with another local restaurant hoping to start the process as well.

“We as vegans have faced the difficulty of finding restaurants that meet our ethical standards,” Dancing Dog owner Brian Behrns said.  “I understand those who follow a kosher diet would like to enjoy the same pleasures and conveniences that the general population may take for granted.  If becoming Kosher can be mutually beneficial by providing ease of mind to the Kosher-keeping community, we are ready for the relationship.”

This initiative, spurred by the OU-JLIC couple on campus with support from Hillel, is one of the first efforts to strengthen the accessibility of Kosher food in the state of Illinois outside the city of Chicago. The initiative will spread the availability of kosher food to students of the University of Illinois and the broader community of Champaign County.

“Having more Kosher establishments in town will make it easier for students to keep to their religious practices,” University of Illinois senior Solomon Lowenstein said. “Keeping Kosher is an aspect of Judaism that is important to many students, and the increase of Kosher options in the neighborhood makes us feel more connected to the community.”

Kashrut certification will be under the St. Louis Vaad of Kashrut with local supervision overseen by Rabbi Shlomo Schacter and partnerships overseen by Rebbetzin Ahava Schachter Zarembski and Hillel’s Executive Director, Erez Cohen.

“Eating is one of the basic social experiences as human beings,” Zarembski said. “We, the Jewish community, are thrilled to further build infrastructure in the Champaign-Urbana community to share good food with the broader community while staying true to the uniqueness of our tradition.”

Rebbetzin Ahava Zarembski is available for an in-person interview. Please contact Zarembski to schedule an interview through email at or by phone at 217-954-8782. Local restaurants interested in becoming Kosher should contact Zarembski as well.

More information about Illini Hillel is available at or by contacting the Center at or 217-344-1328.